Friends of the Creators Artistic Foundation (FCF), a Nigerian based Non-governmental Organization will be considered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an organ of the United Nations as one of its permanent observers during its fifty-ninth series of meetings taking place at its headquarters in Geneva from September 30 to October 9, 2019.
This was revealed by WIPO and published publicly on WIPO’s Secretariat. Ones in a year during the assemblies’ series of meetings, decisions concerning the admission of international and national NGOs as Permanent Observer is usually taken. The last admission took place in September 24 to October 2, 2018, at Geneva.
WIPO reportedly said that “once an observer is admitted to attend the meetings of the Assemblies, it is also invited to attend, in the same capacity, meetings of committees, working groups, or other bodies subsidiary to the Assemblies, if their subject matter seems to be of direct interest to that observer”.
FCF, which was co-founded by Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo and Barr. Rockson Igelige, was formally incorporated in 2017, with headquarters in Oleh, Delta State, Nigeria. The objectives of the NGO are inter alia, to create awareness of copyright, to document intellectual property infringement cases in Nigeria and to promote intellectual property rights through campaigning, advocacies and other mediums. FCF, an award winning NGO, has held the World Intellectual Property Day celebration in collaboration with Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) and others in Nigeria for three consecutive times.
Speaking about the development, co-founder and Secretary of FCF, Rockson Igelige reportedely said that he is optimistic that WIPO will accord FCF the permanent observer status. Adding that due process was followed during FCF’s application and all necessary due diligence were observed. “I am delighted that Friends of the Creators artistic Foundation is enlisted in this year’s consideration by WIPO Assemblies as a permanent observer. FCF is a law abiding organization and it is committed in its fight against piracy and promotion of intellectual property rights and creativity in Nigeria. I strongly believe that WIPO will grant the application of FCF as one of its permanent observers. This will double our efforts on this noble cause.
“I want to sincerely appreciate the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigerian Permanent Representative in Geneva and the Director General of Nigerian Copyright Commission for the role they played to ensure FCF attained this level. Let me also use this opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government to partner with relevant NGOs and professional bodies to strengthen IP laws in Nigeria, in order to block revenue loopholes and encourage innovation in the creative industry”, Igelige stated.
Some NGOs to be considered alongside FCF as permanent observers include the following international organizations: Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) – America; International Generic and Biosimilar medicine Association (IGBA) – Switzerland and Knowman Institute – Germany.
Others include the following national organizations: Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society Ltd (ALCS) – London, UK; Brand Protection Group (BPG) – Lebanon; Myanmar Intellectual Property Proprietors’ Association (MIPPA) – Myanmar; Native American Rights Fund (NARF) – USA; and Professional Union of Broadcasting Organizations (RATEM) – Turkey.